Reconsideration Requests
Show Video

Google+ Hangouts - Office Hours - 17 November 2015

Direct link to this YouTube Video »

Key Questions Below

All questions have Show Video links that will fast forward to the appropriate place in the video.
Transcript Of The Office Hours Hangout
Click on any line of text to go to that point in the video

JOHN MUELLER: Welcome everyone to today's Google Webmaster Central Office Hours Hangouts. My name is John Mueller. I am a Webmaster trends analyst here at Google in Switzerland. And part of what I do is talk with webmasters and publishers like the ones here in the Hangout. And if any of you here in the Hangout who are fairly new to the Hangouts want to go ahead and ask the first question. Feel free to jump on in.

MARY IANNOTTI: OK, hi, this is Mary Ianonotti. Thanks for letting me join. I actually have a question on a site I'm working on.

So the site got transferred from a to just with no www. 301 redirects were set up. They are tested, and they are working. And now the client wants to take down pages from the old website. So the first thing I wanted to do was put a change of address in on Search Console. And there's two Search Console accounts-- one for the www and one for the domain without www. So we want to get rid of the www account or that site. Now, when I went to put a change of address in that Search Console account, I don't see it when I click on the gear. I see Set Properties, I think. I see two options-- Properties and Site Setting. So that's my first question is how do I do a change of address for that?

JOHN MUELLER: So basically, you need to put them in the same account. So both of those sites-- list them separately in the same account. Then we know that you're in control of both of these, and then you can set the change of address there, but if you've already set up the 301 redirects, then the change of address probably doesn't do anything significant there. So it's something that just takes time. And over time, as we recall the pages and see the redirect, we'll jump over to the other version of the URL. And it's not something you'd need to artificially take the whole site out. If you have the redirect set up, it'll just happen naturally.

MARY IANNOTTI: OK, well, that's easy enough. And that was my only question.

JOHN MUELLER: Perfect. All right. I think we have one more. I think you're muted.

FEMALE SPEAKER 1: If you can hear me now?


FEMALE SPEAKER 1: Basically, it was just an issue with my website had some problems with some malware and some backdoor scripts and stuff. Originally we used the webmaster console to request a review, and it was threw back a message saying it's fine, even though it wasn't. I'm now unable to request a review. My website is clean. I've changed all the C-panel passwords and everything, but it's still popping up the red malware page, and literally, I've scrolled through the internet trying to find every resort. I've used [INAUDIBLE]. And I can't seem to get rid of the messages, and I was just wondering is there anyone at Google that can help me. And I can give some sort of information on the screen share, and so if I just log onto my-- just go on to the website. It's probably a reason for the problem, but it's a university website. And we do tend to have a lot of student traffic on there, and at the moment, every time you search for the website through Google, it throws up a message saying this website may harm your computer and, obviously, it puts viewers off, and no one's going on the website anymore. So if I just click on the screen, does this work? How does the screen share thing work? Entire screen share? Can everyone see that? Yep. OK. So if go into one-- and knowing my luck, the message is probably gone. But I also read that it takes. It can take up to two weeks for Google to re-index pages using and get rid of messages.

JOHN MUELLER: So is it just one page within the website?

FEMALE SPEAKER 1: Well, it's all the blog posts. It's all the blog posts. So let me just get rid of this. You might have gone there knowing my luck. So if I go on to blog, and every time I clicked on a blog post, it just popped up with, and now it's gone. OK, it might have just gone. I have had this problem for the past two weeks, and it seemed to have fixed itself. So is that because Google has re-indexed the website and gotten rid of all the messages? It just used to pop up with a big, ugly, red screen saying "malware warning, this site is unsafe," and everything seems to fine now. That's a miracle.

JOHN MUELLER: Maybe. What might be happening is that we flag it for the website in general, and then we started flagging it for the blog specifically. And if you have the blog verified in Search Console separately, then you would still see that information. And we automatically re-check for malware from time to time.

FEMALE SPEAKER 1: Yeah, I think it might have just fixed over time. I did read that it might take probably days, even weeks.

JOHN MUELLER: Usually if you submit the review request, that will be processed within about a day. But for example, for the blog, if that's in a separate directory or separate subdomain, then if you weren't able to submit a review request for that, then probably we just need to re-cache all of that.

FEMALE SPEAKER 1: Yeah, I mean if I just search for COGmedia. See, if you have a look at this one here, just like my home computer. How do I go about getting rid of this?

JOHN MUELLER: Do you still see the message?

FEMALE SPEAKER 1: Let's have a look. It just goes to some Google Search help.

JOHN MUELLER: What I'd do there in a general case like this is post in the help forum. In the Webmaster Help Forum, we have a bunch of people who are really experienced with handling hacked sites, and malware, and the steps that you need to go through. And they can also tell you if you're doing the right things, and it's still not working, they can contact us directly and say, hey, in this specific case, something crazy has happened, and someone needs to take a look at it.

FEMALE SPEAKER 1: OK, yeah, I've posted in the forum. I've actually posted twice, and it got merged into one. That was due to links straight from the website, but I think I might post a different question about the search results that Google throws up. And, hopefully, so there's no technical way to get rid of these.

JOHN MUELLER: A metatag or a setting where if you just say don't ever show one like this, because if you think there's still a problem, we'll still show that. But maybe this is something that will also get picked up automatically as we recall that part of the site as well.

FEMALE SPEAKER 1: OK because every time I log on to the Webmaster Console, I can't actually find the button to request a review. So unless a previous review is pending-- I don't know.

JOHN MUELLER: Yeah, I'll take a look afterwards. And otherwise, I'll submit a review request on our side.

FEMALE SPEAKER 1: Yeah, if you can do, please. I was really struggling talking to someone on Google. I came across this forum. I was like, oh, I'm going to go on the forum. So if I go onto my webmaster-- Webmaster Console-- is that it? Yeah, it doesn't say anything if i go into my dashboard. It doesn't--

JOHN MUELLER: The Security Issues part?

FEMALE SPEAKER 1: Security issues, and then yeah.

JOHN MUELLER: Is the site indexed like that with www and all that? Or is it without www? Maybe they are showing the warning for the other version.

FEMALE SPEAKER 1: I have no idea. I have no idea. I don't know.

JOHN MUELLER: OK, can you go back to the search result?


JOHN MUELLER: Can you go back to that search result?


ROBB YOUNG: It's been indexed with the w's, John, as far as I can see. I am googling it at the same time, and it's been indexed with the w's, and I'm getting the same warning.


FEMALE SPEAKER 1: So can we get rid of the w's?

JOHN MUELLER: No, no, that shouldn't play a role. I'll double check on our side to see if there's something stuck with the review request for your site.

FEMALE SPEAKER 1: Yes, if you can do, please. OK, that's great. So can I share an email address with you for future contact?

JOHN MUELLER: I'll try to track down your forum post.

FEMALE SPEAKER 1: Yeah, that's great. OK, thank you very much. I think I'm just going to stay here just to get some more information. I'm going to stop sharing the screen now. Thank you.

JOHN MUELLER: OK, any more questions from people new to the Hangouts here?

MALE SPEAKER 1: I'm next?

JOHN MUELLER: Yes, go for it.

MALE SPEAKER 1: Can I go ahead with my question?


MALE SPEAKER 1: Thank you, John. So my first question would be about the indexation of hidden run tags in tabs-- product descriptions, blank reviews, or read more. And does it have an influence to the page rank? Or what's the influence to the page rank?

JOHN MUELLER: So if the content directly visible on the page. What will happen is we'll probably pick it up for indexing because we see it when we crawl the page. But we're not going to give it the full weight when it comes to ranking. So if something is important for your page, then I'd make sure it's visible directly when you visit that page.

MALE SPEAKER 1: OK. All right, I have another question-- the next question. I just copy pasted in the chat. Could you please take a look at that link? So this is a link to the Google Webmaster blog.

JOHN MUELLER: So it's a question about infinite scroll.

MALE SPEAKER 1: Yeah, with this implementation we get duplicated title of errors plus indexation of redundant pagination pages, which is not entirely correct. So what do you think about this?

JOHN MUELLER: I wouldn't worry about the titles. That's something that, on the one hand, you could set up separate titles per page If you wanted to. I don't think we actually did that for that example. But it's not something that would cause any problems in search. So we flag that in Search Console because sometimes people aren't aware of that, and they have the same title across the whole website. That's something definitely worth fixing. But in general, it's not a requirement that you have unique titles for everything. And with regards what was it indexation of redundant pagination pages. I don't know exactly what you mean. Can you elaborate?

MALE SPEAKER 1: I mean the extra pages of the pages that are marked with a rel canonical.

JOHN MUELLER: So with the rel canonical, what usually happens is we fold them together. So we have one version, right? So I'm not really sure what you mean with redundant pages there. I think that should be OK.

MALE SPEAKER 1: I mean by calling them redundant, those are extra pages that do not need to be indexed.

JOHN MUELLER: Sure, sometimes it's something you don't need to index like that, especially if you have bigger category pages making this decision between indexing all the pages, indexing maybe just the beginning pages of the set. That's something you have to decide on your side. Sometimes it makes sense to index everything. And sometimes it makes sense to just take the main pages from the categories set and leave the rest there because we can still crawl through the actual detail pages in other ways. I think in this specific example, the only way to reach the detail pages is actually go through the paginated set. So we do need to go through that to find those detail pages. If you have a normal webshop, for example, then that's something where there'll be multiple ways to kind of reach the detail pages, and we wouldn't have to go scroll through all the product categories and all the listings in the category pages to actually find those links. So that's something where sometimes it makes sense to index these pages. Sometimes it makes sense not to index those pages. It really depends on your website.

MALE SPEAKER 1: All right, thanks a lot for your answer. And on to the next question, it's related to the first one. So the question is-- what is the right way to implement the pagination on a website with a product page that is more than one million products? There is no way to create a View All page with a rel canonical to it.

JOHN MUELLER: So in a case like that, I will just work with categories so that we have multiple ways to reach through to the detail content, which could be categories based on some semantic structure that you have on your site, if that's possible. If these pages are totally independent of each other, and it's basically just a listing of a million documents that you have on your website that you can't categorize clearly, then that's something where maybe it makes sense to interlink some of these pages separately so that when we can crawl through part of the website, we can discover the rest of the website from there. So not something where you have to click through a million pagination steps, but maybe a net across the whole web of content that you have there.

MALE SPEAKER 1: All right, thank you. And would it be a proper way to render pagination as I've just pasted in the chat? Could you take a look?

JOHN MUELLER: Let me see. So pagination with robots noindex and nofollow. If you use pagination with noindex and nofollow, then we essentially won't index that page. We won't follow those links there. So we wouldn't be able to discover the individual detail pages from a paginated set like that.

MALE SPEAKER 1: OK, I'm typing right now. It's just a mistake or noindex and follow when you're implementing noindexing?

JOHN MUELLER: Oh, noindex with follow.


JOHN MUELLER: You could do that. Sure. I think that would be fine. So what happened there is we wouldn't index those individual pages, but we'd follow the link s that we find there. So it would help us discover the individual detail pages there without actually indexing the kind of categories or the listing pages.

MALE SPEAKER 1: So will it also transfer the PageRank. We can also choose the links on this page. Is that not noindex and follow?

JOHN MUELLER: With just follow, yes, it would transfer PageRank.

MALE SPEAKER 1: What about noindex?

JOHN MUELLER: Noindex? It's essentially we just don't show the page in the search results. It's not that it wouldn't be able to obtain PageRank.

MALE SPEAKER 1: But maybe some links or external links are going to page 2? There is noindex and follow build to this page. So [INAUDIBLE].


MALE SPEAKER 1: So noindex follow works well, and so Google understands?

JOHN MUELLER: We try, yeah.

MALE SPEAKER 2: John, can I ask you a related question?


MALE SPEAKER 2: But those products on those pages with the noindex follow, those will be indexed? Those respective products, I mean, will Google create the global--

JOHN MUELLER: Sure, if we can index the individual detail pages, sure, we can pick that up.

MALE SPEAKER 2: I understand. OK, thank you.

JOHN MUELLER: I think for most websites, you'd have this natural structure with the different categories and subcategories, which makes it a lot easier for us to pick up the content. So I see the option of having a paginated set that's noindexed but has follow as more of an edge case. So it's not something where I'd say everyone should do something like this because sometimes these category pages are useful on their own as well, and it wouldn't make sense to always hide them from the search results.

MALE SPEAKER 1: Thank you.

JOHN MUELLER: All right. Let me run through some of the questions that were submitted. I took a quick look at a bunch of them and tried to pick out some that were a bit different than the ones that we usually have. Let me try to find them. Let's see. "You were recently quoted as saying your best SEO advice was to be consistent. Can you please elaborate?" I think this is something where we often see people come to us either with questions or with a website that essentially isn't consistent with itself. For example, maybe they'll use a rel canonical across pages where one of them has a noindex on it where you are essentially saying, well, these pages are the same, but they are not the same. Or sometimes we'll see situations where a rel canonical is set to a URL that actually has a redirect back to the other page, and in a case like that, you're also essentially telling us something that we don't really know what to do. And every time you leave it to search engines to that decision on what should be done in that situation, then you have to accept that it could go this way or it could go the other way. Maybe one search engine will say, well, if a redirect in a rel canonical, that means we will index the redirecting page. Another one might say, we'll index the canonical page, and both of these might change their opinion over time as well. So if you have a preference about of what you want the search engine to do, then just be consistent about it and make sure that you're providing all the signals in a way that they really match your intent. So use the right URLs-- pick something and go with it across the whole website. Use those URLs everywhere. Just really be as consistent as you can because then search engines can find follow with your lead and say, well, they really want this page indexed, so OK, we'll just do that. Let me see. Next question here. "Does Google use information gathered from your terms of service policies About Us pages to make an assumption about whether you're a quality, reputable business? Would we rank better if we displayed as much info there as possible?" As far as I know, no, we don't use any of that for search. What we might do is pull out information like your addresses, or your phone numbers, or your opening hours and try to display that in search. But it's not that we would try to parse your legal documentation on your website and say, oh, this is a good company because they're doing right thing with user data-- those kind of things. Users might care for that, and indirectly you might have an effect. There might also be some requirements depending on the ad programs or which users you are targeting. But from a search point of view, essentially, you could put whatever you would like there. "Does Google look at the quality of our 404 pages or internal search on our website when taking overall site quality into account?" We don't take into account 404 pages because they have a 404 results code, and we don't actually look at the content there. So if you have a really nice 404 page, that's not something we would notice, but of course, that's something users would notice, and if they're able to continue staying on your website and doing whatever task they were setting out to do, then that's a good thing for them, and that could result in them recommending your site to others, keeping it in mind for the future as well. So we don't take a look at the 404 pages for search. But users probably do care a lot about being able to find information on your site, even if they land on the wrong URL. "Do you use different ranking criteria on different countries? For example, in German, English, or Swedish? Or are there stricter ranking criteria and larger markets with more competition?" No, we tend not to use different ranking criteria or thresholds in individual countries as much as we can. We prefer to have our algorithms in a way that they work globally-- across all types of content, across all languages, all countries. And for the most part, I think we're able to do that fairly well. Sometimes what happens is that individual search features, which could be things like a rich snippet, knowledge card, those kind of things, those might be available in some languages or some countries before other countries. So that's a difference between the search results across the countries. But it's not the case that we would say, well, the ranking criteria are completely different in Germany compared to France or compared to China, for example. Of course, competition might be very different if you were ranking for something local, for example. But from our point of view, essentially it's the same. This is kind of a blast from past. "Is it must-have or almost to have a link from the DMOZ for the Open Directory Project and/or Wikipedia for Google to understand that you are a brand?" No, it's definitely not a requirement to have a link from the Open Directory Project or DMOZ or Wikipedia for Google to understand what your website is about. So that's something you don't need to artificially push. I believe some information we might pick up from the Wikipedia pages with regards to knowledge cards-- knowledge panel on the side. But essentially, that's a lot of stuff that we can pick up from your website directly as well. And it's certainly not a requirement that you need to have a specific link from any of these other sites for us to pick up any information on your website.

MALE SPEAKER 3: John, just a quick look on the knowledge cards there. You said that you don't need Wikipedia, and we tried to get a Wikipedia page, but it got rejected. We've got the schema markup on the site quite well now, but still no signs of any knowledge graphics-- just blank space. How can we try and get that pushed through? Or is there anything we can do to give more signals to Google on that?

JOHN MUELLER: Not specifically. So that's something where our algorithms try to figure when it makes sense to show that, and when it doesn't make sense to show that. So that's not something where you can force that into Google. By having the right markup on your pages, you essentially have the prerequisite set up so that we could use it if we decide to actually show that, but it's not something that we would always show for any website that has this markup.


JOHN MUELLER: All right, "If we have a domain with two language versions, for example, .com/es, and /en, how should I handle my preferred version for the home page? Should I redirect to the preferred version with a 301 or 302?" You can essentially do it either way. So we have a great blog post on handling your home page. Let me just pull out the exact title and make it look a little bit easier-- just a second-- just a second-- too many blog posts on our blog. Creating the right home page for your international users, which essentially covers our recommendations with regards to international home pages with regards to redirects. If you want to redirect your preferred version with regards to swapping out the content. If you want to do dynamic surfing for a specific language version and how you can set up the hreflang markup between those individual language versions and your home page that might be doing something rally smart. So that's something I'd look out for. Check out that blog post-- "Creating the Right Home Page for your International Users" on our blog. Let me see. So many questions submitted, which is great but kind of hard to find the right ones. "Which is better for 301 redirects? An absolute URL? Or relative URL?" You could use either one. We should be able to pick up either one essentially. Sometimes it's easier to debug issues on a website that uses absolute URLs because you don't have to worry about which location the user is actually coming from. But essentially either one of those would work.

MIHAI APERGHIS: Hey, John, a quick question about redirects, if I may. Sorry for the low quality sound So I have a client that's trying to move her website from a Blogger site to a custom WordPress hosted-- custom-hosted with WordPress CMS website. The problem is that Blogger allows you to do a few options to redirect. One of them is just doing an intermediary page where they have to tell you that this blog is being redirected. Are you sure you want to do this? You click yes or no. I am assuming that's not going to be a good option search-wise. And unfortunately, they don't have any 301 redirect options, but you can do commands within meta-refresh and use a header to redirect users for a JavaScript [INAUDIBLE]. Would those work, and would those work better than the option-- [INAUDIBLE]?

JOHN MUELLER: I don't know the specifics about how to set that up on Blogger. So I'd have to double check. As far as I have that in mind, what you can do is specify that you're hosting your site on a custom domain, and then it'll do the redirect from the Blogger URLs to your custom domain, and from there you can essentially do whatever server site redirects that you want. But it's been a really long time since I've played with that. So I don't know for sure what the current state is there with Blogger.

MIHAI APERGHIS: Yeah, but the options that you mentioned-- if the custom domain you're choosing in the Blogger options is posted on Blogger, you get that media page. That tells you are being redirected and to a non-Blogger domain so we cannot guarantee it's not spam, malware, or something else. Do you wish to be redirected? And you get a 301 code redirect, yes. So it's why I think this might be the best option to that, and maybe a meta-refresh might be better?

JOHN MUELLER: I don't know. You can tell us next time. I would check with Fetch as Google to see what actually is sent to Googlebot in a case like that. Maybe what's happening is we showed the warning for users, and we just redirect Googlebot to simplify things. Or mabye Googlebot is able to click through that directly. But I'd double check what actually is seen by Googlebot there. And I can ask on my side as well. But it should be something you can probably try out on your side too.

MIHAI APERGHIS: OK, but what's this scenario we have to implement the meta-refresh redirect? Would that be OK?

JOHN MUELLER: That would work too. It could work.

MIHAI APERGHIS: OK, I'll follow up with you on Google+ once I--



JOHN MUELLER: "How does Google treat a rel noreferrer tag on links?" So I forgot to double check this, actually, with our documentation. But as far as I know, this is only something that would be handled in Chrome directly. So essentially, it doesn't forward the referrer when a user clicks on it. But it has no effect on our site in search. So it's not a rel nofollow. It's essentially something that's your client. So the user in the browser might be able to interpret it in a specific way, but it doesn't have any effect on search. "HTML site map in addition to an XML one, do you need one if you have millions of pages? Perhaps a mini version with categories would be better?" Essentially, this is really up to you. So if you have an XML sitemap, that helps us to understand which of these pages are new and which of them have changed. The HTML sitemap is more something for the user for the navigation within the website. And if you already have a clear navigation with clear category structure on your site, then you probably don't need an HTML sitemap. So that's something from a search point of view you can certainly create one if you want to use one, but it's not something that you absolutely need to do. I'd really look to see if it makes sense for your site or not. So this was a two-part question. I managed to find the second part while searching briefly. There was probably a first part somewhere. "When I import organic search terms from Search Console into Search Analytics at Google Analytics, some of those search terms are marked as not determined in analytics. Google states the following reason for this," and then a quote from the documentation, "what's happening here?" So essentially what happens on our side is when we recognize that something is more of a unique search term where we don't see a lot of people searching for, actually, than what we'll do is we'll suppress that with regards to Search Analytics. So Search Analytics Help Center has a little bit more information about what we're actually doing there. But essentially what happens is in Search Console if you go to Search Analytics, that won't be shown as a query. You'll see on top like total of 100 queries or 100 impressions, and in the table, maybe it'll show 70 if you add those lines up. So that's something in Search Console we would just not that query. In Google Analytics when it imports the Search Console data to make it clearer for the user, we show that difference between the total on top and some of the rows as not determined or something like that as a name in Google Analytics. So essentially it's the same thing. You're just looking at it in different ways. It's nothing different than the data that we already show in Search Console. "Some websites log countries by IP. How are they still ranking in those countries? What's up with that?" So from our side, essentially the only requirement we have is that Googlebot sees the same content as a user from that country would see. In general, since we crawl from the US, that means we need to be able to see the content that a user in the US would be able to see. Otherwise, we would consider that cloaking, and that would be against the webmaster guidelines. So, for example, if users in Germany aren't able to see your content at all, but Googlebot when it crawls from the US and users in the US are able to see the content, then we would pick that up, show that in search. We would even show that to users in Germany even though they might not be able to actually see the content. And the main reason behind that is more of a practical reason in that we can't check out every website or URL from all countries in the world. So we can't really know which country this URL is really accessible from and which countries it isn't accessible from. So in those cases, we'll still show that in the search results, and that's essentially how it works there. So of course, the tricky part is if content isn't available in the US and we crawl from the US to try to see that content, then we can't rally pick out that content to show in search. So that's kind of a tricky edge case there.

MALE SPEAKER 1: John, what do you think about the user experience? For example, if I, as a user, cannot find the content that I'm looking for, I mean, [INAUDIBLE]. For example, one of our websites is not ranking as good as, for example, some other websites, which is blocked at the same moment.

JOHN MUELLER: Yeah, personally, as a user outside of the US because Googlebot doesn't crawl from Switzerland, I don't really like that at all, because sometimes I do run across content where I see it's indexed, but I go to the page, and it says, well, sorry. People in Switzerland aren't allowed to actually see this content. So that's something that I think from a user experience, it's not great. But at the same time, at least at the moment, we don't really have any other options available for webmasters to say, well, this content shouldn't be shown to users in this, this, and this country. So what will happen is it's like you mentioned, people will click on a result. They'll see a page that's blocked. Maybe it's a friendly error message. Maybe it's just the server doesn't respond to the IP addresses. But at the moment, we don't really have a better solution for that.

MALE SPEAKER 1: OK, thank you, John.

JOHN MUELLER: Great. Next question.

MALE SPEAKER 4: Hi, John, can you answer my question?

JOHN MUELLER: Sure, go for it.

MALE SPEAKER 4: OK, well, before you answered my question about the domain with different language versions-- languages version. Well, did you so that we can do it either way?

JOHN MUELLER: So you can either redirect or you can show the language on the homepage. That's essentially up to you. Sometimes one or the other works better.

MALE SPEAKER 1: Hey, John, can I proceed with the previous question that I had?

JOHN MUELLER: All right, or let me just run through a few more questions, and then I'll open it up for everyone. Perfect. Let me see. "Is it possible to get top rankings for a website with almost no backlinks, but a great user experience, a great website?" So, yes, that's theoretically possible. We use over 200 factors with regards to crawling, indexing, and ranking. So we could pick up a site that has almost no backlinks and show that in the search results. But, obviously, it'll be hard for us, because we don't really know how this website fits in with the context of the rest of the web. It's really tricky for us to understand in relation to the other side that we do know more about, how should we show it. So theoretically, it's possible. In practice, it's probably going to be really hard, especially if it's a competitive environment where lots of people are really providing something really fantastic that others have picked up and kind of recommended already, so possible, but probably not that easy. "When we do a 301 to completely two different domains, for example, a parenting site redirects to a woman's news portal, and the woman's news portal doesn't have an exact match of the same content, how does Google treat that?" So our point of view in a case like that, it's not the case that a site is moving from one domain to another. So we can't transfer everything from just one domain to the other and replace the existing one. We really have to look at on a per URL basis and try to figure out what is actually happening here. Is a part of the content moving in? Are these sites migrating together and merging into something bigger? What exactly is going on here? So this is something where we really have to look at it on per URL basis, transfer the signals where we can, and try to figure out how we should treat the combined version. Let's see. "We added a sitemap with 12,000 images to Search Console. It still shows zero indexed images after three weeks, and manual check shows that they are actually indexed. What's up with that?" So I'm not completely sure on this one. I need to double check with the team on that. But what might be happening is that Search Console is essentially giving you information about the indexed web pages and not the actual image files that you have specified there. So that might be that it's just working as intended there. But I will double check with Search Console Team and the Sitemaps Team to see what should be shown in a case when you have images in your sitemap separately. So one thing to keep in mind, the images in the sitemap need to be specified as images associated with the landing page. So you can't just take the image URLs and include them as normal URLs in the sitemap because we would see that as essentially for example, JPEG files that are trying to be indexed for a web search. And that's not really what you're trying to do. You're trying to get those images associated with the landing page, and that pair of pages would then be indexed in image search. So it's always a situation where you have the landing page and the image and both of them need to be indexed exactly in that way. All right, with that, we have 15 minutes left. Let's just open it up for everyone, and if we have more time, I'll run through some more of the questions that were submitted. What else is on your mind?

MALE SPEAKER 2: John, I have a small question. It's not entirely related to webmasters, but to Google Analytics. What I'm trying to do is I was running a lot of filters, and I couldn't get the device versions for the iPhones. It's a well-debated subject in the past. The problem is one of the Google employees did paste an answer at this URL in the chat saying that this problem was solved. I'm seeing a lot of comments over there that this problem wasn't solved but probably because this post is closed, it won't reach the person in charge. Can I please ask you to pass this URL on or maybe someone can have another look?

JOHN MUELLER: Sure, or what I'd do is start another thread in forum. I believe they just moved to a new platform. So maybe that's something where I'd be able to keep a better eye on things that are being posted there. But it sounds like other people have the same problem. So I'd just post in the forum and see what happens.

MALE SPEAKER 2: OK, thank you.

JOHN MUELLER: But I'll copy it out and see if there is something I can point someone here at specifically. I don't know a lot of people on the Analytics side. So it's hard for me to say, well, you need to go answer this thread because I have no idea what all they're doing at the moment.

MALE SPEAKER 2: OK thank you very much.



MALE SPEAKER 4: Hear me?


MALE SPEAKER 4: [INAUDIBLE] I have a little problem with WordPress indexing in Google Search. When I'm searching for the article title, I found something like this-- It's not the right landing page. It's just the archive page. I think it is a bad experience for users. How can they remove that?

JOHN MUELLER: So is it that WordPress shows the wrong content? What do you mean?

MALE SPEAKER 4: Yes. It shows a tags page. It's like an archive page containing the targeted title plus related posts in one page.

JOHN MUELLER: And but that's the page shown in the search results?

MALE SPEAKER 4: The original article is already indexed successfully in Google, but it doesn't appear in the results. How can I do?

JOHN MUELLER: OK, if it's indexed but it doesn't appear for the search results, probably we don't see it as being too relevant at the moment for that query. So what I would do there is take this example to the help forums or to another webmaster forum and make it clear what people can do to reproduce this. So I'm searching for this key word, for example, for my blog post. And it shows the wrong version. And usually, people will be able to help you a little bit more based on the exact details there that you provide. In cases where they are not able to figure out what's happening, usually they can also escalate it to us and say, in this specific case, we're doing the wrong thing. One thing I had cautioned about is if you're doing a search for something that's artificial-- so if you're looking for the URL, or if you're looking for a whole sentence that you copy and paste from this blog post, then that's something where the search results will be a little bit trickier because we don't really have the simple situation where we can say, well, someone is searching for this word and this word, and Google is bringing the wrong search results, but rather, someone is doing something artificial in Google, and Google is not providing the answer that I would have expected. And especially for artificial queries like that, it's really hard to say is it right or is it not right because it's not something where we could easily say, well, the user clearly wants this specific thing. But usually--

MALE SPEAKER 4: So what about marking this pages as noindex and a subpage or archive or categories-- what about the noindex with them?

JOHN MUELLER: You can do that. But what will probably happen is that your other pages won't show up instead. So it's not that the rest of your site will rank higher because you noindexed this other page. What might happen is you take this page out, and then none of your content is ranking for that query. So that's something you have to balance there with removing something that you don't like in the search results or actually still ranking with any content at all in the search results.

MALE SPEAKER 4: OK, thanks.

JOHN MUELLER: All right, more questions from any of you?

MALE SPEAKER 1: Hi, John, if I may, another question.


MALE SPEAKER 1: I found out that some empty pages without any useful information or any content of some websites with some really good authority are really ranking much better in the top 10 than other good quality pages from websites with lower authority. And we actually have a lot of examples of that. Possibly, their recommendations of [INAUDIBLE] are no longer accurate, and there's no point to create unique content or high quality content or--

JOHN MUELLER: No, I wouldn't say that. You're always welcome to send these examples our way. We do take a look at these. So that might be an option there. There are I guess different things that could be happening there which is really hard to say without actually looking at examples and seeing what exactly is happening there. What might be happening is that the page changed recently and we still have the old signals, and we think, well, this page was really fantastic in the past. Maybe it's just a mistake on the webmaster's side that it disappeared. That might be happening. It might be happening that we're being misled through some artificial signals that we're not judging properly. So maybe we're picking up something completely wrong. That's always a possibility. Another thing that might be happening there is that we see that pretty much all the pages for this query are so bad that we don't even know which ones we should show on top because they're all like we don't trust them, and this has bad quality content. This has a lot of spammy links. This does cloaking or something like that. And essentially, we have a collection of really lower-quality pages or bad pages, and we don't really have any way of saying, well, this is less worse than this one. So what might be happening is we pick one of these. But it's really, really hard to say what might happening there without actually looking at the details. So if you want to send them my way, feel free to send me a private note on Google+, and I can pass that on.

MALE SPEAKER 1: All right, John, well, thank you so much for your answer. We actually collected a lot of examples in one Google Doc, so we would be glad to share it with you to send it to you so you could take a look.

JOHN MUELLER: OK, fantastic, great.

MALE SPEAKER 1: Thank you.

ROBB YOUNG: John, I have a disavow question.

JOHN MUELLER: All right.

ROBB YOUNG: If you disavowed a site, and then I go back through the disavow file, and that old URL is 301'd to somewhere else, what's the upshot there? Do you have to then disavow the new one? Or Google will see both or--

JOHN MUELLER: Good question. Yeah.

ROBB YOUNG: Thank you. That's not bad after three years.

JOHN MUELLER: Yeah, so essentially you'd have to disavow the new one, because what would happen is we would see that link as being between the new canonical URL and your website or whatever page on your website, and in order for us to drop that link, we of need to know which the canonical version is that you want to have disavowed.

ROBB YOUNG: All right, I thought so because I see a lot of-- I've done a few lately for our site, so I've seen a lot of them-- they are really, old, bad, dodgy directories and domains essentially moving somewhere else, and then re-linking. Then it's like a moving target. I guess unless they're really damaging, it's not worth bothering.

JOHN MUELLER: Yeah. It's always that situation where if you look at it, and you're like, oh, this looks really problematic, and should I do something about it? Or should I not do something about it? Personally, I'd just disavow them and clean that up so you don't have to worry about it again in the future. But at the same time, if you're going through this regularly, and you constantly see this jumping around, then obviously it's a big hassle, and you have to weight is this really a problem with my website or am I just keeping myself busy doing stuff?

ROBB YOUNG: Right, but presumably, it takes just as long to build a really bad site as it does to build a really good one. But for Google to see something as really problematic, you have to spend a lot of time and effort making that bad. So if you 301 it to a relatively new, but low quality domain, then there's not much point disavowing a barely one-month, two-month old, crappy domain. It's not really doing anything unless it's got malware on it, it's probably not doing any harm anyway, is it?

JOHN MUELLER: Yeah, probably, even with malware, that's not going to be a problem for your site.


JOHN MUELLER: Because malware on a site that's linking to your site, that wouldn't be affecting your site. That's not something where we'd say, well, this is associated with malware. It's either malware or it's not malware. So that's something that we try to split off very clearly.

ROBB YOUNG: But it's not worth spending too much time-- more than every three months or something continually finding these new bad.

JOHN MUELLER: Sure. Look at it from time to time. But it's not something I'd look at daily or weekly, finding the right balance. So it depends on your site. If you're in an area where you're seeing lots of problematic things or you know a previous SEO.

ROBB YOUNG: Never had a problem before.

JOHN MUELLER: You're still building stuff. Then maybe it makes sense to look regularly. Otherwise, if you're just a local business, and you're a bakery, and you see some crazy links from some crazy places from time to time, then that's not going to cause any problems.


MALE SPEAKER 3: John, is that something you would recommend then to possibly just lock up updates in the disavow file when you see something dodgy start linking to your site. So for example, we create content and apply our links naturally. And then some scraper sites might take that content off a newspaper site, something like that. And obviously, that link is passed to us. Is that something we should constantly, proactively monitor and add those to disavow?

JOHN MUELLER: I'd say most sites you don't need to worry about. So if these are things that you haven't been actually building natural links for, then that's not something I'd really worry about. If someone is just scraping content on [INAUDIBLE] then that shouldn't happen. We should [INAUDIBLE].

MALE SPEAKER 3: OK, thank you.

MALE SPEAKER 4: So about the health niche in Google. Does Google have anything specifically for the health niche? I mean--

JOHN MUELLER: I didn't understand the question completely. Can you repeat it?

MALE SPEAKER 4: I'm asking about the health niche in Google Search. Does Google have anything specifically for health queries or own limitations? About rankings-- you said rankings in Google is hard in the health niche or something?

JOHN MUELLER: So it's in the health niche?


JOHN MUELLER: So this an association of websites?

MALE SPEAKER 4: No is there any limitation--

ROBB YOUNG: Are you saying in the health niche?


ROBB YOUNG: So in the health environment.

MALE SPEAKER 4: Is it hard to rank? Is it hard to rank?

JOHN MUELLER: Well, it can be hard to rank in any area where there is a lot of the established players already. So that's something that I think is normal that some areas of the web are a lot easier to show up in a very visible way, and other areas there are just a lot of really strong website already as a lot of websites do everything right. So it's very hard to get in there. And our recommendation is usually, especially if you're starting out, is find the area where you can be the leader or you can be clearly the one that is providing them right information at the right time and where you have room to grow a little bit. So finding that area of the web that works best for you, that's how you want to start out there. But it's not easy in the beginning.


JOHN MUELLER: All right, with that, we're just about out of time. I have someone else taking this room. So I have to jump out a little bit early. Thank you for joining. Thanks for all the questions. As always, feel free to ask more questions in the help forum or to add them to the event listing, and there should be new events set up for the future as well. So maybe I'll see you in one of those Hangouts. And until then, I will wish you all a great time. Bye.

MARY IANNOTTI: Thanks, John.

MALE SPEAKER 2: Thank you, John.

MALE SPEAKER 3: Goodnight.

MARY IANNOTTI: Bye. | Copyright 2019